The Turlock High Bulldogs came away from their final game in the Central California Conference with a win over crosstown rival Pitman and the league championship.
The Bulldogs (9-2 overall, 7-0 CCC) defeated the Pitman Pride (5-6 overall, 4-3 league) 39-27 in a topsy-turvy game that seesawed until the final minutes.
After a scoreless first quarter that included a blocked field goal attempt by the Bulldogs, Pitman struck first early in the second on a 9-yard run by Denzel Steckwren. Turlock immediately came back when Jordan Porter returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.
The scoring was on then, with the lead going back and forth until the Bulldogs started pulling away in the fourth, at one point leading 32-21. Pitman came back and made it close, but then the Bulldogs scored a final touchdown with 1:35 left in the game.
Turlock head coach James Peterson said Pitman did not play like a 5-5 team.
"I was surprised at how strong their offensive line was," he said. "They were really tough."
Peterson said his defense gave up more yardage than he'd have hoped, but he was encouraged with the way the team responded.
"We were able to come out in the second half and take the wind out of their sails a little bit."
Now the Bulldogs wait to see who they will face in the first round of the playoffs. Whoever that is, Peterson said, "If we fight the way we fought tonight, they will have a hard time beating us."